As you may have noticed, throughout our courses we use a fictional candidate named Megan Hammond. Megan helps us to illustrate best practices and demonstrate campaign resources. Although Megan is not a real person, we attempt to make her campaign as realistic as possible.
To put context around those sample plans and scenarios, we’ve decided to feature Megan in our July trainee spotlight. We interviewed her to find out more about her campaign and learn from the successes she’s had to date.
What inspired or compelled you to run for office?
It all started with a phone call. Another mom from Bear County East was on the line. She was distraught because the school had decided to cut its PE and art programs. The renovation cost for the old gym where both types of classes were held was just too expensive. As a psychologist – and as a mom – my friend knew that creative play in school is vital for our children’s learning. “Megan, please,” she said to me, “you have to think of something.”
One week later, I stood up to address the School Board. I proposed my plan to turn the parking lot into a PE and art room and raise the money to repair the gym ourselves. One year later, the parking lot we transformed into a gym and art room is a parking lot again, and the new gym we built holds PE and art classes and hosts all sorts of community events.
I’ve loved serving on the PTA–and we’ve accomplished a great deal. But we shouldn’t have to throw fundraisers to give our kids a quality public education. I’m running for the School Board to take that same determination and creativity that allowed us to keep art and gym classes, and it to get our Bear County Public Schools the funding and programming they need every school year.
What change do you hope to make in your community, if you’re elected?
A school voucher program supported by my opponent is taking funding away from our schools. It promises to give a few students a “ticket out” of public schools — but I’ve read the reports, and outcomes for these lucky few won’t improve. Meanwhile, our public schools lose students, and lose funding. But I know we can be a community that invests in ALL its children. Improving our public schools starts with a School Board that represents families and listens to teachers. After all, they’re the ones in school with our kids every day.
If I’m elected, I’ll fight to eliminate the voucher program and keep funds in our public schools where they serve ALL our students.
Tell us about yourself. What has your professional life looked like? How have you been involved in your community before deciding to run for office?
I am an accountant for the local business Fran’s Restaurant Group and the treasurer of my kids’ school’s PTA. These experiences have given me insights into the community’s needs and provided me the skills to develop plans that save money without sacrificing quality.
I also volunteer at the local food bank with my husband and children. We donate the fresh fruits and vegetables from our backyard garden. We also spend the weekends preparing and distributing food to neighbors who are going through a tough time. We’ve been doing this ever since our kids were little. My husband and I believe that you’re never too young to start giving back to your community.
How have the NDTC trainings helped you to prepare for your election?
I didn’t have any previous experience with political campaigns, but the NDTC trainings guided me through the process of getting my name on the ballot. As my campaign advanced, so did the courses. It was comforting to know that NDTC always had my back.
With the election coming up in a few months, I feel confident I know where we’re going and in control of my campaign.
If you could recommend one NDTC course to a candidate, which would it be?
As an accountant, I loved the “Budgeting and Financial Compliance” course. It made concepts I’m pretty familiar with accessible to others on my team who are taking on some of those financial responsibilities. It was hard to delegate that piece of the campaign since it’s so comfortable for me. Knowing my team had such a great resource helped a lot.
However, the course that benefited me the most was “Making the Ask.” Before taking that course, I was quite uncomfortable asking my friends and family to donate to my campaign. However, after practicing and completing the activities in the course, the process feels much easier. But I’m a numbers lady, so the proof is in the spreadsheets–my fundraising totals have doubled!
What is a highlight from your campaign, to date?
The endorsements from Mayor Lisa Brown of Prairie Park and Mayor Stanley Hendricks of Davenwood back in May really gave the campaign a boost. They are accomplished and beloved public servants, so I am honored to have their support.
Plus, we earned press coverage of their announcements. They also sent emails to their supporters on my behalf. This helped us double our volunteer sign-ups during the month May.
What’s a piece of advice you’ve picked up while running for office that you’d like to share with other candidates?
Lack of experience should not be a deterrent.
If you have ideas of how to improve your community and the grit to get things done, don’t be afraid to start your campaign. Running for office is an extraordinarily intimidating endeavor, but anyone can do it if they have issues they care enough about.
Being my first race, I had no idea what to expect or how to run a political campaign, but I’m exceeding all my financial and supporter identification goals because the message I crafted is really resonating in the community. I have the utmost confidence for Election Day.
Want to see Megan in action? Check out our trainings HERE
Editor’s Note: Ella Presher also contributed to this post.